Valentine’s Day is kind of a weird social phenomenon, don’t you think?
Chocolates, flowers, cards, or expensive meals out… I mean as if any of this stuff really has anything to do with the nature of true love.
And so it’s really easy to feel a bit negative about the whole affair, all the same….
Because if you’re single, chances are that you probably live in quiet dread of this stupid calendar date and the way that it can make you feel small simply because of your relationship status.
And then even when you’re dating or married, it doesn’t feel much better either. You probably either feel a bit resentful about having to spend money on a phoney romantic gesture, or you forget the date altogether and then risk upsetting your other half…
But what if instead of just being about the grand gestures, today could be about those small everyday choices to love well instead?
So this Valentine’s Day, rather than worrying too much about cards and flowers and love hearts and various other very ‘plastic’ gestures of love (nice as they can be to receive!), why not take a moment to consider these words from 1 Corinthians?
‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy or boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
And why not consider this question which I’m reflecting on today; are these qualities of love becoming more evident in my life as the years go by, or not?
Am I growing more patient and kind in how I treat my nearest and dearest?
Am I becoming less envious, proud and selfish?
Am I getting better at honouring others with my words?
And am I becoming slower to anger, and quicker to forgive?
Because it’s these things, and not gift cards or chocolates, that are the true measure of how well and how deeply I love.
And it’s a huge challenge, because it can be really hard to live from this place of love, moment by moment and day by day.
Preferring others needs to own just doesn’t come very naturally for most of us, most of the time – and so we really need His help.
But the Bible says that God is love, and anyone who lives in Him lives in love.
And that doesn’t just mean ‘must do better’ or ‘must try harder’ to get better at loving others, although I’ll admit that for years I thought it did.
Because living ‘in Him’ simply means living with a greater awareness of His presence with us.
Because He is love, and living in love changes everything.
And not just on ‘special’ days like Valentine’s Day either; but in countless ordinary moments, every single day.
So may you know that you are really loved today, and may you experience it living in Him.